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Celebrating cycling’s champions

The inaugural Cycling Planning Awards highlighted the extraordinary efforts being made across the UK to make towns and cities more cyclist-friendly

Deniz Huseyin
18 September 2015
Joint winners of the Best Cycle Network Infrastructure Project category – Leicester City Council & Lewes Road, Brighton
Joint winners of the Best Cycle Network Infrastructure Project category – Leicester City Council & Lewes Road, Brighton
The Southwark team took the prize for the Best Cycling Network Masterplan
The Southwark team took the prize for the Best Cycling Network Masterplan
Cycling Champion of the Year, Waltham Forest’s Clyde Loakes receives his award from Klaus Bondam, Copenhagen’s former ‘cycling mayor’
Cycling Champion of the Year, Waltham Forest’s Clyde Loakes receives his award from Klaus Bondam, Copenhagen’s former ‘cycling mayor’
The Dublin team overcame stiff completion to be crowned the Local Authority with the Most Cycle Friendly Policies
The Dublin team overcame stiff completion to be crowned the Local Authority with the Most Cycle Friendly Policies

 

Some of the UK’s best cycling schemes and the people behind them were celebrated at the inaugural Cycle Planning Awards held at Walthamstow Assembly Hall on Monday 14 September. Guest speakers at the awards included leader of Waltham Forest Chris Robbins, transport minister Robert Goodwill, the Cycling Commissioner for London Andrew Gilligan and the newly appointed Dutch Ambassador Simon Smits. 

The event, organised by Landor LINKS and hosted by the London Borough of Waltham Forest, turned the spotlight on an impressive array of innovations, infrastructure projects, cycle friendly workplaces, local authority cycling strategies, integrated community hubs and behaviour change campaigns. 

With more than 100 entries submitted, there was strong competition in the eight categories, which were judged by a panel of respected figures from the world of cycling. The winners were announced by chair of the jury Philip Darnton, executive director of the Bicycle Association.

The London Borough of Waltham Forest won the hotly contested Best Innovation prize for its consultation approach during the Walthamstow Village trial. 

This marked the first phase of the council’s Mini-Holland programme, with eight temporary road closures during a two-week pilot in September 2014. The trial resulted in valuable feedback from residents and businesses, enabling the scheme to be refined, said the council. 

The judges also commended the National Propensity to Cycle Tool developed by the Centre for Diet and Activity Research, MRC Epidemiology Unit.

It was a good night for Waltham Forest, with the council’s deputy leader Clyde Loakes taking the Cycling Champion award for his work in spearheading the Mini-Holland programme. Despite vociferous local opposition to the plans from some residents and businesses, Loakes has stood firm in his belief that the changes will result in a “change of mindset” in how residents view their streets.

Another London borough to come up trumps was Southwark, which won the award for Best Cycling Network Masterplan. Southwark adopted its Cycling for Everyone strategy in June 2015 which, the judges felt, represented more than just a pledge to deliver routes, with its commitment to cut accidents by 44% by 2020. The judges noted that the strategy clearly set out how the changes would be implemented over the next five years.

“Southwark’s cycle strategy is an example of a fantastic approach to developing a masterplan,” said the panel. “With detailed plans for the network of cycle lanes, which surveyed the current level of difficulty and mapped over time to achieve a complete network. They took opinions of not only current cyclists but those not yet cycling and adopted an inclusive approach targeting the harder to reach communities to overcome their barriers.”  

Bristol City Council was commended by the jury for its Bristol Cycle Strategy, which was published in February 2015.

In the Local Authority with the Most Cycle Friendly Policies category Dublin beat off some formidable contenders to be named winner. The project, developed with  consultant AECOM, was completed in 2013 and published in April 2014. The network plan aims to treble existing cycle lanes to 1,485km and add 1,300 new connections between towns in the Greater Dublin area.

Leicester City Council was commended by the judges for its Cycle City Action Plan. The authority was also recognised in the Best Cycle Network Infrastructure Project category, as joint winner along with Lewes Road, Brighton. Leicester City Council was lauded for best overall approach while the Lewes Road project won for best example of infrastructure.

The Lewes Road Cycle Scheme – developed by Brighton & Hove City Council and consultant Mott MacDonald – involved reallocation of road space on a busy 4.5km dual carriageway with improved cycle facilities and enhanced priority for buses. The scheme introduced 14 floating bus stops along the route designed to remove the previous conflict between buses and cyclists that was often seen as a significant barrier to cycling. 

Leicester’s Cycle City Action Plan has resulted in cycle friendly, accessible and good quality urban design, the judges said. Remarkably, the changes have been achieved without any outside financial support.

The council’s plan includes delivering training, engagement and promotions across the city to help make cycling safe, simple and more attractive.  

TfL received a commendation for its ambitious A3 Oval Triangle Road Space Management scheme.

The judging panel decided that Santander Cycle’s hire bikes were the Best Integrated Community Hub or Cycle Scheme. The capital’s bike hire operation, launched in 2010, was “iconic” and “fun”, embracing commuters, residents and tourists, the judges noted. They also praised its “scale and sustainability”. 

“Although there are some excellent schemes in other cities and parts of London, the judges felt it would be difficult not to recognise that this is the most high profile and successful scheme,” said the panel.

The Most Cycle Friendly Workplace award went to the University of Sheffield, which was praised by the jury for its joined up approach. The university offers safe routes, a cycle hub on the campus, lockers, bike repairs, pool bikes, a cycle to work scheme, training and an anti-theft scheme. 

Another scheme that impressed the panel was the Outspoken Training project in Peterborough, which took the title of Behaviour Change Campaign of the Year. The team, using funding from the DfT’s ‘Bikeability Plus’ pilot, developed a seven-week programme to encourage children to cycle. Despite only being a short-term scheme, it encouraged 75 children to cycle to school, raising the total to 291, while 114 youngsters took part in a cycle mechanics course. 

Ealing Council was commended for its work in significantly increasing the number of pupils cycling to school on a regular basis.

The Cycle Planning Awards took place on the evening before the London Cycling Show, hosted by the London Borough of Waltham Forest and organised by Landor LINKS. A full report on the conference will appear in the next issue of LTT

For more details on all the finalists go to: www.landor.co.uk/cycleplanningawards

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